The inscription simply states “kill the ones you love” in foreboding red letters. It appears on a wall at the back of a derelict storeroom located in the backyard of a shutdown shopping strip. Nobody knows how long it’s really been there or who put it there. It’s just one more bleak witticism, one more impotent outcry, one more comment on the realities of Progress.
This one is different though.
For those reading it will do it. They will kill the ones they love.
>People living – and more importantly surviving – in Downtown tend to develop a sort of sixth sense, an instinct for bad things going on in their neighbourhood, without going to the dangerous foolishness of actually trying to find out what exactly that might be or what might cause it.
So, when people in the vicinity of the gutted shops and their ruined storeroom started to end up committing murders or being murdered themselves (more often than usual in Downtown that is), the locals stopped going there.
Just like that one more graffito in the storeroom, one more Downtown myth sprang up. The usual, unremarkable kind, a cautionary tale to keep away from the shops, a legend of the “bad place”, growing and twisting with each new iteration, all boiling down to the folklore version of a Keep Out sign.
Do people know what is in there? No. They just feel that it is safer to keep their distance, for the most time. As for those who do not, who go and sneak a peek on a whim or a dare or happen on the writing by happenstance, they go on and provide the fodder for reinforcing the legends they dismissed.
What remains is a minor spike in sector homicide statistics and another rumour to catalogue, and that is the end of it.
Or it would be, until …
What is happening?
… a SHIVER patrol moved through Pomegranate Sector on a routine sweep.
Checking a potential hideout, two members of the squad enter the storeroom and spot the fatal writing.
Three days later Malcolm Jones-Montalbano murders his wife and three of their four children before killing himself in their home in Suburbia.
The next day, his fellow SHIVER Joshua Macmillan, after kicking in his TV at home, draws his Pacifier baton on yet another member of the squad, while both are suiting up for their shift, pulverising the upper portion of his head. When other SHIVERs rush to detain Macmillan he puts his regulation Browbeater to his own right eye, pulling the trigger and driving a rapidly expanding metal and plastic sphere through his eye socket into his brain, where it ricochets off the insides of his skull pretty much liquefying all that’s inside.
It is at this point that a White BPN is issued.
Investigations can become a bit tricky, for political reasons mostly. The SHIVERs would prefer to handle this on their own and not have ops (green SCL 10A ones to boot) move in on what they consider an internal matter of the force (and a sad and delicate one at that). Tact and a bit of deference can go a long way to remove these obstacles though, and with them out of the way the investigation quickly – or maybe not so quickly, depending on the approach and skill of the operatives – reveals the following:
Jones-Montalbano’s surviving child, a young luckless artist named Uther, witnessed the murder-suicide at the family residence. He had a very strained relationship with his father himself (“wanted me to be like him”), but describes him as a loving (“in his way”) husband and father to his siblings. According to him there was no trouble at home (“beyond the usual”). If pressed on details of the crime, he relates that his father saw and made eye contact with him (“looked at me in disgust”) directly before he shot himself (yet more pressure has Uther break down and confess that his father’s last words, directed at him, were “you are not worth it, Uther, never were”).
Macmillan was romantically inclined towards the colleague he killed, though the latter did not reciprocate his feelings. Macmillan’s homosexuality was a known fact at the station but generally accepted. Two of the other SHIVERs present during the incident report that Macmillan was weeping. Also, in the opinion of the station personnel, Macmillan could not possibly have been aware of Jones-Montalbano’s death at the time of the attack.
If, besides a background check on the two SHIVERs and a reconstruction of the crimes themselves, the operatives follow up on proceedings such as patrol routes and dig into detailed mission logs, they will locate the information that Jones-Montalbano and Macmillan were both separated from their squad during the Pomegranate sweep just days before their murder-suicides.
What will happen?
Dumb operatives may entirely miss this and be at a complete loss how to solve the investigation. Sooner or later they will have to close the file (or have the SHIVERs do it for them) and accept a fine and/or SCL deduction, but nothing serious.
Clever – or devious – operatives may come up with moderately convincing theories of what happened in both cases (either linking them together in some sort of chain or conspiracy or treating them as unrelated, their timing being mere coincidence) and report those findings. Case(s) closed.
Clever operatives may of course also spot the suspicious foray of the two SHIVERs in Pomegranate Sector.
If they are really clever, they will correlate this with the spiking murder rates and/or listen to the rumours on the street in the area, and maybe decide that this is a job better handled by others (or a finding that they should leave off the official record).
If they are too clever for their own good, they may of course decide to have a close-up look for themselves. Better to find out who the operatives’ loved ones are in that case…
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